The battle against wildfires begins months before fire season

Posted at 10:26 PM, Mar 16, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-17 00:26:10-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- Very little snow and warm temperatures have spurred premature wildfires in Utah.

Fire crews have battled more than half a dozen fires this year, some totaling 140 acres.

“So far this year there's been some bigger fires than what we would typically see in February and March and if that trend continues we're really going to need to be on top of some things,” said Jason Curry, Spokesman for the Utah Division of Forestry Fire and State Lands.

Fire and hot shot crews are already prepared in Utah.

“Typically this time of year would be very early but with things being what they are we wanting them to be ready whenever possible,” Curry said.

Nearby areas including Nevada, Oregon, California and the Great Basin are seeing a similar pattern.

“It looks like through the western United States that conditions are pretty dry we've experienced a drought over a period of several years Utah is no exception to that our snow packs is not the best,” said Teresa Rigby, Fire Information Officer for the Bureau of Land Management.

This week the Department of Interior released an initial plan for a new wildfire fighting strategy.

The plan outlines state agencies to provide more training, prioritize and protect areas most at risk by using veteran crews as well as an increase focus on protecting wildlife and land by storing seeds and plants and make maps of areas of concern available.

Utah Wild land fire crews say those things will help combat the growing fire concern across the western states.

“Here in Utah we're prepared for whatever may come and if we need help form those neighboring states and federal agencies we know that they're ready,” Curry said.